Through the Gadling Lens: inspiration, courtesy of the Gadlingers

It occurred to me the other day that we’ve officially been together for a year here at Through the Gadling Lens — how great is that? So it seems a little bit of a retrospective on the past year is in order, because seriously, we have talked about a lot here on the column. And so, with the help of my fellow writers here at Gadling (as well as some of the amazing photographers who share their craft with us in the Gadling Flickr pool), I thought we could multitask: I asked some of the Gadlingers what they like to photograph when they’re traveling, and as a bit of inspiration, I thought I would feature some of the best our Gadling Flickr pool has to offer to illustrate their points. And while we’re at it, I’ll provide some links to some of the more popular posts of the past year.

So, ready? Then on with the show.
From Grant: “I like taking pictures of interesting locals when they’re not paying attention.”

Grant has actually hit on one of my favourite subjects in travel photography: people. There’s nothing like watching locals go about their day-to-day lives that really captures what the atmosphere is like of a place. This photograph, shot and shared in Tanzania by by localsurfer, is a great example — the image makes you wonder what this woman is thinking, where she’s going, what her story is, just by this simple image.

Remember, however, if you do decide to take photographs of locals on your next trip, there are some rules of etiquette (not to mention local laws) which can affect capturing an image without your subjects consent. For more on this, be sure to see the post on Photographing Strangers.

From Jeremy: “Graffiti.”

I’ll be honest: I’ve never even considered capturing images of local graffiti, and right now, I’m kicking myself for not having done it before. If you think about it, there’s nothing that can really tell a visual story of the atmosphere or personality of a neighbourhood like graffiti. And I’m totally intrigued by this photograph captured by Luke Robinson — I love the juxtaposition of the gritty feel of the tagged building with the pastoral setting of the autumn trees nearby. Beautifully composed.

From Sean: “…markets…”

In many countries, the market is the focal point of all commerce in a community, and it’s very smart to grab shots of the hustle and bustle of the local market — people are likely too busy conducting their business to pay much attention to you, resulting in some pretty authentic images. This great shot of market in Peru captured by Theodore Scott is a great example — enhanced by the lovely pop of colour of the produce and the texture of the cobblestones. Great job.

From Kraig: “For me, it’s mostly about wildlife and landscapes. Rather boring, but it’s true.”

Kraig, don’t sell yourself short, man — flora and fauna are hardly boring, and can make for amazing shots. In addition, they can really help add context to your travel photos. Finally (and as this image captured by Craig Damlo clearly shows), sometimes wildlife is just cool.

There are some great tricks to taking beautiful shots of flora and fauna, so before you go on your next holiday, be sure to check out this Gadling Lens post on just that subject for some inspiration. In addition, check out this previous post on capturing landscapes, seascapes and and cityscapes, as well as how to add oomph to your landscape shots.

From Annie: “Signs.”

I will admit that while I’ve certainly taking a photograph of an interesting sign or two in the past, I’ve never made a point of capturing signage as a subject matter; that said, this great photo taken by PDPhotography in Toronto is a great lesson in why I should pay closer attention. Of course, what makes this shot great is a combination of some great timing and fantastic composition-work; still, the moral of this story is to always keep your eye open for an intriguing shot. Well done.

From Alison: “any striking colors.”

I’m with Alison on this one: there’s very little that can make for great eye candy in a photo than a striking colour. For example, this photo by zakgollop, captured in Cromer, England, isn’t interesting just because it’s an image of doors — it’s the spectrum of colour that’s captured in this single shot that makes it special.

If you’re interested in finding ways to maximize colour in your shots, be sure to take a gander at our previous Gadling Lens post, all about colour. It’s a great tutorial on how to consider your vacation shots in terms of colour, rather than simply subject matter.

From Mike: “Tourists being tourists.”

Trust our resident comic to come up with this idea for a photograph — and I love it. There’s something very ironic (hypocritical?) and tongue-in-cheek about taking a photograph of tourists doing pretty much exactly what we’re doing when we’re grabbing a picture of them. This photo, taken by Moody75 at Sacrada Familia in Barcelona, is a fantastic example — when we look at it, we suspect that the expressions of wonder (confusion?) on the faces of this group have at one time or another passed across our own faces as we’ve traveled a well. Great idea.

From Katie: “Kids.”

Another favourite subject of mine — there’s just something about kids, their spirits, the way they enjoy the world around them — and capturing images of this, particularly of local kids, is such a privilege. This beautiful photo by Cazimiro, shot in Chicago, is a great example of how sometimes, you don’t even need to capture their faces — just capturing the energy around kids doing their thing is enough.

If you’re interested in capturing images of kids when you travel, remember first to ask their parents for permission; in addition, be sure to check out our previous post on photographing kids. (And incidentally, while we’re looking at this great photo, if you’re inspired to take photographs of water, don’t miss our previous post on this subject matter, as well.)

And with that, I want to thank all of you who have been so faithfully following Through the Gadling Lens over the past year — it’s been great getting your feedback, hearing your own tips, and seeing your own images as I’ve written here. If you have any ideas of what you’d like to see in the coming year, please send me an email or leave a comment below. As always, you can always contact me directly at karenDOTwalrondATweblogsincDOTcom.

Karen is a writer and photographer in Houston, Texas. You can see more of her work at her site, Chookooloonks.

Through the Gadling Lens can be found every Thursday right here, at 11 a.m. To read more Through the Gadling Lens, click here.